Friday, December 12, 2008

Ethics and Starting a company


I recently met with a CEO of one of the most morally ethical companies I have seen in a while. It was great, just by talking to him, you just get a great feeling about what he represents and stands for. The company does each faucet of business well, from utilizing resources, business practices, treatment of people, and even the reason why the company was founded was for good reasons. His actions have reinforced what I know to be true, especially a very important factor. The #1 reason why you do anything should not really be only for money.

It makes sense to work hard and be rewarded financially. And it also makes sense that one needs to earn money to feed and support family and one's self. But, to start a company or business for the sole reason of making money means that there is no product or service that you are selling that is truly meant to benefit anyone but yourself. And once you go down that path, I'm not sure there is a way to turn around. Look at Wall street...there are people on the floors trading everyday. But if you think about it, what good is it really providing society? It is just gambling on the back of other people's efforts.

I think its important to found a morally ethical company, and I think more than ever it is being revealed to the rest of the world that it is the way to be. We are in this crisis because people made stupid decisions for the sole reason of financial gain. And now we are all paying the steep price.

On a brighter note, it was fascinating to hear that he was able to found his company with no venture backing, and by giving away no equity. Fundamentally I thought that was the way to start a business, but from activities and classes I've been taking in SV, it seems like Angels and VC's were the route more commonly taken. It was reassuring to hear that it is more than possible to start a company without losing equity and control along the way. If you are planning on starting a business....just keep taking to people to find which way will work the best for you. There are million different ways to get to the same result...find what works for YOU.

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